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Moderna appoint Novartis vet to scale-up manufacturing

Published on: 07/08/17

Moderna Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotechnology company, has appointed Juan Andres to the position of Senior Vice President of Late Stage Technical Development and Manufacturing. This long title will see Andres take charge of the company’s newly built manufacturing facility, that will become operational in 2018, and oversee further expansion into the production capabilities of the company.

The new facility will employ 200 people – an impressive number but representative for the ambitions the biotech holds. Despite only coming into existence in 2011, the biotech has eschewed the small and steady approved of other start-up biotechs to have a workforce of over 500 people already. The opening of the facility will necessitate this expanding by a further 100 members of staff.

The company is working at creating RNA therapeutics and vaccines that could see the body’s own cells create the proteins necessary to fight certain diseases.

Clearly the grand ambitions of the company were enough to lure Andres, who arrives with plenty of experience under his belt. He spent over a decade with Novartis, where he ended his time there as Global Head of Technical Operations within its manufacture and supply chain. Prior to this, he held various roles at Eli Lilly before becoming Vice President of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.

“I’ve spent a great deal of time with Stéphane and the Moderna team in recent months, and I have gotten an ‘under the hood’ look at the science, technology platform, advancing R&D programs, and the sophisticated infrastructure that is being built to accelerate Moderna’s mRNA research efforts and drive its early development programs,” said Juan Andres on his appointment.

He continued, “I look forward to leveraging the expertise and skill set I’ve accumulated working at established large pharma organisations to help Moderna build its drug development organisation. The novelty of what Moderna has set out to accomplish, coupled with the fact that I know and trust Stéphane’s leadership instincts and abilities, convinced me that I could not pass up this tremendous opportunity.”

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